New findings released this month by the journal Nature Communications reveal that English-language digital and print media give 49% more coverage to bush-league climate contrarians than top scientists. We asked Professor Guy Midgley, a Stellenbosch University expert on how biodiversity responds to the climate crisis. With the odds in favour of ‘at scale climate change disinformation’, as the study puts it, what’s the best way for ordinary people to make sense of this wilderness?
For those who do not believe in climate change being a man made problem, listen to this!!
A new report has been released in an effort to mobilise South Africans behind the vision of creating a million ‘climate jobs’ as part of the country’s response to the threat posed by climate change.
Published by the Alternative Information and Development Centre, the 60-page report has been produced under the banner of the ‘One Million Climate Jobs Campaign’, an alliance of South Africa labour and social movements, as well as popular organisations established in 2011 to coincide with Durban’s hosting of the United Nations climate change conference.
The report’s editor, Jonathan Neale, says climate jobs are defined as those jobs that will help stop the world from heating up, which, in South Africa, will mostly be associated with renewable energy, public transport, electric vehicle manufacture, construction and agriculture.
The report estimates that a transition from South Africa’s coal-based electricity system over a 20-year horizon could create 250 000 direct jobs at wind and solar farms, but especially in the renewable-energy supply chain.
AIDC would like to invite you to a morning seminar to launch our new One Million Climate Jobs booklet.
In an initial OMCJ booklet in 2011 we argued that globally we are facing an environmental crisis and an economic crisis and that the creation of a million climate jobs was an opportunity to address both problems jointly. In the six years since there have been many developments – such as renewable energy being established as part of the electricity supply mix of South Africa and its rapid decline in cost; the development of environmentally friendly construction methods and the roll-out of the Rapid Bus Transit system in some municipalities. But it is not enough.
Today, the threat of accelerating climate change and the damage it is already doing to our ecosystems is ever more evident. Climate change exacerbates inequality and poverty by reducing access to food, water, energy and housing. We urgently need to make changes to our economic system and various forms of production before they destroys our life-support system.
AIDC is an NGO formed in 1996 in response to the new opportunities and challenges that the democratic transition brought for those seeking social justice. AIDC has played a leading role in various civil society responses to ongoing inequality, including the launch and building of the South African Jubilee 2000 debt cancellation campaign and the Right to Work Campaign. In 2011 AIDC was central to launching the One Million Climate Jobs Campaign, an alliance of South African labour, social movements and popular organisations to campaign for jobs as central to the national response to climate change.
This booklet presents well- researched solutions for South Africa to immediately begin a just transition away from the Minerals-Energy Complex initiated under colonialism, that continues to dominate our capitalist economy, to one in which all basic needs of communities are met equitably and affordably. We know that transition will not be easy and need to ensure that it is not an additional threat or burden for workers and the poor.
With the international negotiations of COP 23 imminent, it is clear that we cannot rely on governments and big business to make the changes that are necessary to avoid climate catastrophe, much less to ensure that there is a just transition. With Donald Trump pulling the USA out of the Paris Agreement, it is all the more evident that we need to revitalize initiatives like the One Million Climate Jobs Campaign.
This is an open invitation to a seminar where key findings in the booklet will be discussed. Please RSVP to email@example.com additional information by telephone: 082 446 6392.
6 November 2017
VENUE: Vulindlela Auditorium at the DBSA, Midrand
1258 Lever Rd, Headway Hill, – off the Oliefantsfontein Rd exit from M1/N1, west of M1
Registration and refreshments from 08h15; Light lunch with networking 12h00 – 13h00
The publication is available electronically on request and plenty of hardcopies will be available at the event.
Please would you share the attached invitation with any in Gauteng who may be interested?
082 446 6392
The climate crisis needs the equivalent of a moon shot.
"The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word 'crisis.' One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger, but recognize the opportunity.” —John F. Kennedy, 1959
JFK shared this quote at a time of great uncertainty in the world. The Cold War was being waged and many lived in constant fear of nuclear warfare. Although Kennedy was technically mistaken in his translation, he was right about the sentiment of those words, which remain truer today than ever.
Take one of our greatest global crises, climate change. We don’t need any more reminders about the dangers posed by this threat, but what about the opportunities? During a recent panel discussion in New York, Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson addressed this very topic. (Operating an airline might not make Branson the best person positioned to discuss environmental matters, but if there’s one thing he knows well, it’s business.)
"The knock-on effect to the global economy is enormous," Branson exclaimed, citing, for example, the potential money saved on fuel by switching to alternative sources of energy. From reductions in medical expenses to increased income, Branson said, "pushing to be carbon neutral should not only be the right thing to do, it also makes good business sense."
Sounds great in theory, but how do we get there? For Senator Carl Levin (D-Mich.), it will require a serious shift in national policy. "We need a level of leadership similar to efforts of a previous generation that put a man on the moon," Levin told a packed University of Michigan auditorium. "We need our own moon shot—to develop alternatives to petroleum and to make more efficient use of all forms of energy."
Unfortunately, by that measure, America is losing the race to China. According to a recent Bloomberg New Energy Finance study, China invested $287.5 billion in clean energy in 2016, compared to just $58.6 billion spent in the U.S. That's not to mention the $360 billion China's energy agency plans to spend on alternative energy in the next three years.
"In the past we thought government and social sector would sort out these problems," said Branson in reference to this problem. As a result, he continued, "business has to step forward to fill certain gaps that governments are leaving behind."
Branson's point was reflected by the increased presence of the private sector at COP21 conference in 2016. In fact, according to a report published by the World Bank, CEOs from a number of industries made pledges to “decrease their carbon footprint, buy more renewable energy and engage in sustainable resource management." Global financial institutions further “pledged to make hundreds of billions of new investment over the next 15 years in clean energy and energy efficiency."
Of course, making a pledge is not the same thing as actual implementation. And even then, there is still the matter of managing the existing natural resources that help to absorb carbon dioxide emissions. But let's just imagine "what if" for a moment. If such promises were implemented holistically, they could present a number of incredible opportunities. Here are five of them.
1. Cheaper renewable energy.
The principle of "economies of scale" dictates that a certain idea or technology requires a large enough level of adoption to become affordable. For this reason, it has taken society decades to stop using fossil fuels. But as more companies start to go green due to climate change and the introduction of carbon pricing—which charges companies tax for releasing greenhouse gases—renewable energy is getting more profitable by the day.
A recent study cited by Dimitris Tsitsiragos, vice president of New Business at the World Bank's International Finance Corporation, in an article republished by the World Bank, sampled 1,700 leading international firms that on average enjoyed an “an internal rate of return of 27 percent" thanks to their reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. As that trend continues, renewable energy is set to become increasingly ubiquitous in society.
2. Which means new opportunities for renewable energy industries.
It’s time to open our eyes and prepare for the world that’s coming.
In all of U.S. history, there’s never been a storm like Hurricane Harvey. That fact is increasingly clear, even though the rains are still falling and the water levels in Houston are still rising.
But there’s an uncomfortable point that, so far, everyone is skating around: We knew this would happen, decades ago. We knew this would happen, and we didn’t care. Now is the time to say it as loudly as possible: Harvey is what climate change looks like. More specifically, Harvey is what climate change looks like in a world that has decided, over and over, that it doesn’t want to take climate change seriously.
Houston has been sprawling out into the swamp for decades, largely unplanned and unzoned. Now, all that pavement has transformed the bayous into surging torrents and shunted Harvey’s floodwaters toward homes and businesses. Individually, each of these subdivisions or strip malls might have seemed like a good idea at the time, but in aggregate, they’ve converted the metro area into a flood factory. Houston, as it was before Harvey, will never be the same again.
Harvey is the third 500-year flood to hit the Houston area in the past three years, but Harvey is in a class by itself. By the time the storm leaves the region on Wednesday, an estimated 40 to 60 inches of rain will have fallen on parts of Houston. So much rain has fallen already that the National Weather Service had to add additional colors to its maps to account for the extreme totals.
Harvey is infusing new meaning into meteorologists’ favorite superlatives: There are simply no words to describe what has happened in the past few days. In just the first three days since landfall, Harvey has already doubled Houston’s previous record for the wettest month in city history, set during the previous benchmark flood, Tropical Storm Allison in June 2001. For most of the Houston area, in a stable climate, a rainstorm like Harvey is not expected to happen more than once in a millennium.
It’s no secret that we need to make significant changes if we’re going to preserve our planet. As humans make more of an impact on the earth, the planet is changing in significant, alarming ways.
Sea levels are rising. Global temperatures are slowly increasing. The oceans are getting incrementally warmer. Ice sheets around the world are shrinking. Glaciers are retreating, extreme weather events are on the rise, there is less snow cover, and overall pollution levels keep increasing,
The challenge, however, is that the population is also increasing. The global population is increasing at a rate of approximately 1.1% every year, with about 80 million people being added. In places like China, that growth rate is even larger.
Thankfully, there are solutions on the horizon, with some available even now. Green, environmentally friendly solutions are gaining popularity and media exposure. Recently, the Energy Observer, the world’s first completely renewal energy and hydrogen powered boat, began a journey around the world. This comes on heels of the Solar Impulse, a solar powered plane, completing an around the world journey.
Johannesburg, 27 July 2016 - Massmart, Pick n Pay and Woolworths have indicated their commitment to lobby for an enabling framework that will allow for renewable energy expansion in South Africa at a round table discussion organised by Greenpeace. The three retail heavyweights met with Greenpeace to determine how best retailers could go about lobbying for renewable energy
The three retailers will be looking to increase their participation in the regulatory sphere and as such will request access to key energy policy documents that are currently forming blockages to renewable energy investments in South Africa (specifically, the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) update, and the release and finalisation of the small scale embedded generation regulations). The retailers have agreed to the need for a holistic sector approach that includes financial mechanisms and regulatory frameworks to create an enabling framework for renewable energy going forward, and have agreed to focus on lobbying for this.
“A collective response from the retail sector to lobby for an enabling environment for renewable energy investments is critical in moving forward and expanding on the renewable energy sector. The commitment from the top 3 retailers (Massmart, Pick n Pay and Woolworths) is an important milestone for the ‘Renewable Energy Champions’ Campaign said Penny-Jane Cooke Climate and Energy Campaigner for Greenpeace Africa.
The move from the retailers is a follow-up action in response to the report “Shopping Clean: Retailers and Renewable Energy” that was launched by Greenpeace in April this year. In this report the five biggest retailers in South Africa were ranked against each other in terms of their current investments and commitments to renewable energy. The report forms part of the broader renewable energy champions campaign which aims to get retailers to commit to a 100% renewable energy future.
“Lobbying for the barriers to renewable energy to be removed is one of the key criteria that retailers are ranked on and is an essential component for a 100% renewable energy future. Greenpeace welcomes this bold move by the three retailers and looks forward to seeing the lobbying strategy of the sector evolve. We are pleased that these three retailers have agreed to engage with industry associations”, continued Cooke.
Penny-Jane Cooke, Greenpeace Africa’s Climate and Energy Campaigner +27 82 383 4281
Hellen Dena, Greenpeace Africa’s Media Officer +254 70 805 6207
Written by Henry Neondo Monday, 26 May 2014 10:14
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report reveals that South Africa is responsible for the majority of African's carbon emissions as a result of its coal-intensive energy production, and that the average temperatures across South Africa will increase by 2ºC along the coast and 6ºC inland by the end of the century if no action is taken to combat this.
The report notes however, that South Africa has the infrastructure and expertise available to “climate proof” itself in order to lower its carbon emissions.
According to Arthur Chien, Vice President of Talesun Energy, the on-going and unrestricted burning of fossil fuels is one of the major causes of climate change, and it should therefore be in the interests of Africa’s public and private sectors to reduce carbon emissions in order to offset the effects of global warming in the country. He notes however that through the implementation of renewable energy strategies, the country can make remarkable advances in decreasing the negative impacts that fossil fuels subject the environment to.
Chien says that the , United Nations scientists reported in its most recent global warming study that the world needs to triple the amount of energy it receives from renewables to avoid dangerous levels of global warming and that countries need to make more of an effort to implement renewable energy projects such as solar parks.
“By making use of photovoltaic solar energy instead of fossil fuels the public and private sector can help alleviate the effects of global warming. Solar energy, which is widely available in Africa due to the sun producing around 2,500 hours of sunshine each year, has a non-evasive effect on the environment and therefore makes it an appealing alternative energy source. This is in comparison to coal, which has the highest carbon intensity of major fossil fuels, resulting in coal-fired plants having the highest output rate of CO2 per kilowatt-hour.
“When fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas are burnt, CO2 is released into the earth’s atmosphere, and the build-up of CO2 has an alarming warming effect that lasts many years. This is the reason for the increase temperature.”
Chien says that Africa is well positioned to benefit from renewable energy solutions such as photovoltaic solar energy, especially as the country has been rated the world’s most promising emerging market for photovoltaic solar and other renewable energy by IHS Technology, a global information company. A recently released report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development also reflected that by 2020 80% of the world's population will be living in countries where solar electricity is cheaper compared to fuel produced from coal and other sources.
He agrees with UK climate change expert, Sir David King, who says that the decreasing solar photovoltaic prices will prove to be an advantage for Africa, particularly as the cost of installing PV has come down by a fifth of the price in the last ten years. “Installing PV during these price drops will help the country deal with its current electricity shortfalls, while also lowering its carbon emissions,” concludes Chien.
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